In the wake of the beating death of Tyre Nichols earlier this month, some experts have questioned whether police officers are even needed in responding to routine traffic stops.
Northeastern Law professor Deborah Ramirez, who chairs the criminal justice task force, argues that, in fact, the police shouldn’t be working the traffic beat; that instead, civilians can be trained to enforce traffic laws in what she says is a much-needed change in the way society thinks about policing.
“My research is focused on how to prevent, detect and deter these kinds of things from happening in the first place. It’s about rethinking public safety,” Ramirez says.
Since news broke of the incident that saw five Black police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, kick, punch and use a baton to beat a defenseless Nichols, leading to his death, there has been widespread condemnation of the officers actions, renewing calls to address institutional racism in police departments across the country.